Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. That means that guys and gals are getting ready to buy chocolates, cards… you know, the same sort of stuff that they bought last year. But wait! Isn’t it getting a bit boring? Isn’t it time to head down a different path? A Primrose Path? That’s what Tessa Lowe wants to know.
Tessa is the owner of an online business that specializes in adult erotic pleasure. That means that it’s her job to make sure that Buffalonians have access to the types of alluring products that make being a Valentine that much more fun.
I recently sat down with Tessa in a quiet little café on the Lower West Side, to discuss sex toy parties and pop-ups, her devotion to opening up people’s minds to the world of eroticism, the simple joys of living a sexually enhanced and fulfilled life, and her desire to turn Buffalo on to her products in fun and creative ways.
It’s funny. Before walking into the café, I was amped up to ask Tessa about all sorts of random questions, that would hopefully lead to intimate explorations of the mind of a girl who was so hellbent to stimulate her surroundings. Then, after grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting down, I realized that, in my mind I had pictured a place abuzz with conversations. Instead, there was a girl reading a book to the table to the right (within hand holding distance), and a guy tapping away at a computer, and about 20 other people being as ‘library quiet’ as possible. It was if they anticipated the conversation that was to follow.
So I looked at Tessa and smiled. “How did you get into this line of work?” I asked, trying to break some conversational ice in the coffee shop. She told me that her full-time job was in graphic design and marketing. She grew up in southern Illinois, spent some time in Florida, and had been living in Buffalo for nine years. As for her foray into the world on selling sex toys and erotica online, and through bachelorette and pop-up parties, she said that she attended a couple of pop-up parties and felt that she could do something more than what was being offered.
If you take a look through Tessa’s offerings on her Primrose Path Boutique, you will get a sense that she’s not just in the business for the fun and games. She’s quite serious about what she’s selling, and is really into the learning experience associated with the sale’s process. The products that she’s peddling look more like works of art than body buddies. Each one serves a unique purpose of course, but at the same time they look as if Karim Rashid lent his expertise to the designs, the coloring, and even the elaborate composites. Some of the buzzing apparatuses look like they’re straight out of Barbarella, while others look as if they could be sitting on a shelf in the Guggenheim. One looks feathery and wispy, while another looks like Lady Gaga could rock it around her neck.
Ultimately, while the inner-workings of each tool and device is important, Tessa told me that it’s important that people are comfortable with their new purchases. That’s why she hosts couple’s workshops that take the form of parties. While the educational aspect is of utmost importance, it’s the way that she purveys the bare essentials that she feels most proud of. “My book collection is out of control,” she said, loud enough that the entire café had one ear directed towards out table. “I bring a lot of toys to the events. I’m dispelling the myths that surround sex toys and BDSM – bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S
It was around that time that the girl sitting directly next to us quietly closed her book, got up and walked away. At the same time, the rest of the room was dead silent. Tessa continued, not skipping a beat, “I make sure that people are using the safest toys on the market. Do you know that there are no regulations on sex toys? Who knows what’s coming from China. It’s something that people don’t event think about (unless they happened to be in the café that day). Then there are the healthiest lubes, and the care that goes into silicone sex toys. You don’t want to ruin an $80 sex toy. I decided that when I started this business I was not going to be shy about it (I could sense a cheer from the café about to erupt). I’m very open about what I’m selling, and after talking to people about their desires, I can suggest the type of toys that they might like. At the pop-up parties, people can hold the items to see if they like them. I can show them how quiet a particular vibrator is – you buy a loud one online from some random website, and before you know it the people living downstairs are giving you funny looks.”
After a lively discourse about sex toys, I asked Tessa about her feelings regarding Buffalo – were Buffalonians open minded? Any surprises? “I have found that there are a lot more polyamorous people in Buffalo than I expected,” she said, thoughtfully.
“There are more couples seeking a third partner than I would have thought. At the same time, I’m trying to do a lot of networking in the area, with the underground scene, erotic photographers… I’m looking to network. I’m considering writing a column for my website, and maybe start a book club. I’ve been considering hosting adult coloring book events at local bars. I’m even thinking about opening a retail shop at some point – I would love to have an event space for parties and workshops. I want to help people spice up their sex lives. I’m not talking about marital aids, I’m talking about singles and couple enjoying their bodies, which will lead to participants getting laid more. I want to break the barriers between couples. And if you can’t make it to one of the parties, then who wouldn’t want to get a box of fun delivered to their doorstep?”
It was only after I stood up from the table and walked out the door that a number of people in the café took the opportunity to walk up to Tessa (who was finishing her coffee) and asked for her card. That had to have been a good feeling, sitting there with the eyes of the world upon her, realizing that even during the interview she was making a difference. People are intimidated. People are shy. But more than anything else, people are curious. And sometimes it takes someone who is so open to something, that the walls of sexual tension come crashing down and sense of amorous relief floods in.
On February 14, from 5 to 7 PM, Tessa invites you to grab your gal pals to the first ever Galentine’s Day event at Renew Bath and Body (927 Elmwood Avenue). Renew has partnered with Primrose Path Boutique and TrippyChickMakeup (see Facebook) for an evening filled with naughty novelties, themed cocktails, treats, and delicious DIY skincare treatments by an in-house aesthetician.
“The event is definitely open to anyone,” Tessa revealed. “Along with the girls, I would love to have guys in there shopping for their dates, or even better, couples shopping together. Anyone 21+ is welcome, since we’ll be pouring champagne cocktails. Come pick up a fun toy to play with your date later that night!” The event is free for anyone to attend. Interested parties are encouraged to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primrose Path Boutique | 716.324.1662
Article photo creds:
Tessa headshot – City Lights Studio
Intimate toy and accessory shots: Ciao Bella boudoir
Girls’ group shot – Courtney Denk